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401(k) plans

Getting divorced? Don't forget the pension!

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What better time than the week after Valentine's Day to devote a week's worth of blog entries to divorce?  This is the first in a series of blog entries focusing on issues involving divorce and retirement. Enjoy!

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When is a participant not a participant?

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As I was reading the most recent edition of the Private Pension Plan Bulletin Abstract of 2007 Form 5500 Annual Reports [PDF], published by the Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration, I noticed something rather odd in one of the footnotes.  More...

On this day...

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On this day in 1981, the final regulations for 401(k) plans were issued. What better day than today to look back at what we've written on 401(k) plans? Here's our top 10 list: More...

Help for retirement plan participants comes from an unlikely source

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When you're looking for information about retirement plans, the Internal Revenue Service probably isn't the first place that comes to mind. However, the IRS has a helpful guide for participants in retirement savings plans. A resource called Life Events That Can Affect Retirement Savings is designed to walk employees through decisions that they might need to make about their retirement savings and pension plans. More...

TIME Magazine says, “Time to Retire the 401(k)”

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With the provocative title, “Time to Retire the 401(k),” the cover story of today’s issue of TIME is a must-read. The article provides a stinging indictment of the do-it-yourself savings plan that has come to dominate our patchwork retirement system. More...

A surprisingly honest answer to a question about investing

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Does successful investing guarantee a successful retirement? 

Not really. At least that's the answer according to Evan Cooper, an editor for Investment News. Cooper is pondering retirement and has come to a surprising conclusion - at least we think it's surprising, considering the source. More...

A retirement reality check

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A new study released by the Ariel Education Initiative and Hewitt Associates and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation confirms what many researchers and retirement policy experts have known for a while now: When it comes to providing retirement income, 401(k) plans just aren't cutting it for many minorities. More...

Relighting the match

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Last week Zep Inc. announced plans to reinstate its 401(k) matching contributions.  This move comes six months after the company suspended its match and cut executive pay to reduce costs.  At the time, Zep's CEO said that restoring the match would be the top priority when the company returned to profitability.  Currently, Zep is restoring its match to half the level it was before the suspension, but the company expects to fully restore the match by January. More...

Mother Jones for Mother’s Day

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With Mother's Day approaching, it seems only fitting that I put in a plug for the current edition of Mother Jones magazine. Its cover asks, "Who Ran Away With Your 401(k)?" and the issue is required reading for anyone interested in the future of retirement income.   More...

Time to Fix a Fiscal Mistake

Blog entry

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a Roth alternative in the Thrift Savings Plan for government employees. Roths are the antithesis of sensible tax and budget policy. Rather than expanding them to federal employees, Congress should scrap them.

As most of us know, there are now two choices in both IRAs and 401(k)s. With a traditional IRA or 401(k), the contribution is not taxed when made, but distributions from the retirement plan are taxable. In both Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s, the contribution is taxed in the year that it is made, but distributions are tax-free.

The advantage of either alternative is the same -- the elimination of tax on investment income. The difference is when the money is taxed.  This may seem like a minor difference, but the amount of money that you can accumulate tax-free can be greater in a Roth. More...

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